Jigsaw puzzle 01 by ScoutenCC BY-SA 3.0
It brought to mind an ongoing discussion about the effects of anglocentrism in the way we work and communicate in especially online. But even more here in Edgeryders.
David De Ugarte and others in the Las Indias collective have been doing incredible work, and have deep relationships, in worlds invisible from the anglocentric Internet. Our conversations are helping me see and understand hidden patterns and structural weaknesses in how we currently approach the work of creating conditions for addressing socialecological, economic and political problems. They are intimately tied to the two areas touched on in Jonathan’s post: language and community.
A little context.
At the moment we are preparing the Edgeryders annual community gathering, called LOTE (Living on the Edge) taking place in October ( Sneak preview of work in progress, 23-26 October, save the date!). This year’s format is different from previous ones: the physical gathering is part of a long and slow solutions-oriented conversation around community stewardship of physical, digital and sociocultural assets. Rather than a mad sprint towards an event as the endpoint.
Making sense of any complex issue requires diversity. If you care about it being evidence-based, rigorous and effective, you need to give yourself time to ensure a critical mass of people find their way to the conversation. There is a less obvious aspect to this which is tied to language. If we are to build real understanding and cooperation, we need to learn each other’s languages. As well as be able to read and translate between contexts within which we live and work.
I think here a key issue is language dexterity. Being able to pick it up, make it your own… even develop different languages. Even in the same language there are many different worlds, like business speak or street slang or artistic experimentation. Language shapes our thinking and if you do not command that language you are often rejected in that context… And so on. Translation or interpretation services just are not feasible in our context, we never have the resources to cover those costs to begin with. No, what we need is for a critical mass of community members to be able to move between languages.
Where to begin.
I think there could be a lot of benefits of us exploring this as a community, maybe set it up as one of the goals for Edgeryders: promoting and supporting language dexterity of members, conversations, relationships and projects. It will require us to explore and build effective tools and processes in a culture that takes these needs seriously.
Perhaps one way to get this going is to include posts around this theme in a monthly newsletter to the community?
Another possibility is to engage on a community learning journey where we commit to learning one other language in the community and test and develop further the various parts of the learning package you develop as a collective. Perhaps we could even discuss this in a session at the #futurespotters event in Tbilisi on june 24-27?